The Poorest States in America

One Nation Under the Poverty Line

The United States is quickly descending into poverty. In total, 42.9 million Americans (14.3% of the country) lived below the poverty line in 2009, an increase of 3.5 million from the year before, according to data released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, there were 37.3 million Americans living below the poverty level in 2007, prior to the worst part of the recession. During that time, the federal poverty level has remained fairly constant. In 2008, the poverty line for family of four was $21,200 and in 2009, it was $22,050. In fact, the Census Bureau found that the number of residents living below the poverty line increased in 31 states across the country last year, but did not decline significantly in any of the 50 states. It’s a grim picture to say the least. We rounded up the 10 states that have the most people living in poverty, by percentage of the total population, as well as Census data showing how many more people have fallen into poverty during the last year in each of these states.The numbers are based on annual surveys of households across the country conducted by the Census Bureau, adjusted each year for changes in the cost of living, as reflected in the Consumer Price Index. Photo Credit: Adrian Miles


10th Poorest State: South Carolina

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 753,739 (17.1% of population) Increase from previous year: 72,608 residents Photo Credit: Shoshanah


9th Poorest State: Texas

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 4,150,242 (17.2% of population) Increase from previous year: 358,673 residents Photo Credit: Paul Garland


8th Poorest State: Louisiana

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 755,460 (17.3% of population) Increase from previous year: 7,050 residents Photo Credit: The Pug Father


7th Poorest State: Alabama

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 804,683 (17.5% of population) Increase from previous year: 93,478 residents Photo Credit: Southernpixel


6th Poorest State: West Virginia

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 313,419 (17.7% of population) Increase from previous year: 11,889 residents Photo Credit: bradwicklund


5th Poorest State: New Mexico

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 353,594 (18% of population) Increase from previous year: 21,145 residents Photo Credit: a4gpa


4th Poorest State: Washington D.C.

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 104,901 (18.4% of population) Increase from previous year: 6,231 residents Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon


3rd Poorest State: Kentucky

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 777,295 (18.6% of population) Increase from previous year: 59,203 residents Photo Credit: jeremiah.andrick


2nd Poorest States: Arkansas

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 527,378 (18.8% of population) Increase from previous year: 46,257 residents Photo Credit: StuSeeger


The Poorest State in America: Mississippi

Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 624,360 (21.9% of population) Increase from previous year: 18,157 residents Photo Credit: rususeruru


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